Last week, while looking at our Visitor’s Map, we realized that we have had visitors from every continent except one . The frozen one. Antarctica . “Are there no ‘dog people’ down there? ,” we asked ourselves. With a little research, we discovered The Madrid Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty. The treaty states:
“Dogs shall not be introduced onto land or ice shelves and dogs currently in those areas shall be removed by April 1 1994”.
With this one sentence, over a 100 years of canine participation in the exploration of that continent came to an abrupt halt. Unfortunately there was evidence that the canine disease distemper was spreading to Antarctica’s seals. Dog sleds were used for transportation well into the 1970’s at which time vehicles were brought in. The motorized vehicles were obviously faster than the sled dogs, but because of the slower speed of the huskies, the dogs were safer. (Think approaching a crevice at 10 mph on a sled, or 60 mph on a snowmobile.) From the days of doggy-derrring-do:
The last dogs were removed from Antarctica on Feb 22nd, 1994. All that remains of these most loyal of man’s companions in the most extreme place on earth is their history and photographs.
If you think about it, as Amundsen used dog sleds to reach the South Pole and his sled was being pulled by dogs at the time, dogs even reached the South Pole momentarily before the first man did!
More history on the dogs of Antarctica.
The landscape from McMurdo Station. No trees, no hydrants…no dogs. *sigh*